Broken noses, fractured bones, smashed fingers, smooshed toes, bonked heads and banged knees — is there anything you guys haven't managed to injure while working out? In response to an msnbc.com story on bizarre gym injuries , readers sent in your own stories about falling off treadmills and dropping dumbbells on toes.
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Turns out, even the pros fall prey to health club clumsiness.
"I teach classes and before each one, I tell the members about the 'Fall Out Zone,' to leave yourself room to fall without injury. One morning I did not follow my own advice. I fell, butt down on a weight," writes reader Mare, who lives in Dallas. "I finished the class smiling, walked calmly to the restroom and tossed my cookies. I have never been in such pain, nor has my rear ever been so many colors."
Keep reading for more responses.
Back in the '70s the gym had rollers that you would sit on or kneel next to. I was kneeling next to one and I put my head down to rest it on my arms, my hair was shoulder length....you can probably guess what happened next... my hair got wrapped around the rollers! I thought I was going to get my scalp ripped off. I was able to turn the machine off quick enough, but it took quite a while to unravel my hair from the machine!
— Debbie, Omaha, Neb.
I was at the gym and noticed that the White Sox game was playing on a TV above a treadmill. I walked up to the treadmill to see the score. Apparently, someone had left the treadmill on a runners pace and before I had a chance to realize this, the tip of my foot hit the running tread and I was flung forward (face-first) into the hard plastic and then was dragged back to the end of it. I ended up with a broken nose, a fat lip of Octomom proportions, several facial lacerations and two bruised knees.
— Lara T., Chicago
Yes, many years ago I lost my footing on a treadmill and scraped my shin. I was an experienced gym-goer by that time. I had a long scab of several inches as a reminder for awhile. The most embarrassing was simply slipping on the stairs leading up to the workout floor — witnessed by many people — who always asked about me for the next several weeks — I had a large blue bruise on my entire right thigh as proof of my fall!
I was working out one Sunday on the chest press machine. I had about 200 pounds on it and about the fifth rep the rubber hand grip slipped off the handle and the bar slammed into my biceps. Not fun at all.
— Robert Ort, Mystic, Conn.
I have had one surgery on each knee to help secure my knee caps from dislocating. It only helped a little. During one training session I was doing BICEPS CURLS and I must have tried to re-adjust my footing and twisted awkwardly and dislocated my knee cap! Took almost 7 months to recover.
— Kyle, St. Paul, Minn.
I didn't really have a weird injury, but MAN did it hurt! I was seated on a small bench doing dumbbell presses, with a 40 pound. dumbbell in each hand. On the last repetition of the set, I lost my balance, didn't let go of the dumbbell in time, and my right shoulder hyper-abducted as the dumbbell finally crashed to the floor. What came from my rotator cuff along the way sounded like a phone book being ripped. It still hasn't healed and that was several years ago.
— Charles Weaver, Albuquerque, N.M.
I was stepping on the side of the treadmill and put my foot directly on the moving belt, I fell on my back and scraped my arm, thought I broke my finger. My pride was damaged more than anything.
— Elaine, Boston
It really wasn't my fault. Someone left the treadmill running and I stepped on it and I flew off. I had people ask me didn't I look to see that it was running. I told them you expect a treadmill to be turned on but not running. Whoever was last on it didn't make sure it stopped when they got off. So now I do look to see if an empty treadmill is running or not. That's my one and only accident ever on a piece of fitness equipment
— Sharon, Lynnwood, Wash.
In November of last year, I was on the stairmaster for the second time ever. I'm an experienced elliptical trainer and stationary cyclist. I was gabbing with the woman on the machine next to me and wasn't paying attention while I was trying to get off the machine. I mis-judged the steps and fell down hard. I thought it was just a sprain and sheepishly limped out of the gym. When I couldn't walk the next morning, I decided to get it x-rayed. I fractured my tibia!
— Eileen, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
A few weeks ago while walking into the gym I was on my phone and when I was done I walking onto an empty treadmill but I was putting my phone on silence and didn't realize the treadmill had been left on so I stepped onto a running treadmill. What made it worse was that I didn't realize what was happening, thought I just tripped, so I tried to get up making it a lot worse. I had nasty strawberries on my right shin and knee, 4 strawberries on my left knee and my entire knee turned black and blue, the bottom of my left wrist was black and blue, the top of my right pinky and the side of my hand were burned and my entire pinky was black and blue. I thought I broke it. Needless to say, I am very careful about stepping onto a treadmill now.
— Christy Jensen, Springboro, Ohio
I broke a toe falling off a treadmill. I've fallen reaching for the cap to my bottled water — fearful of causing the cap to trip someone else. I've hit myself with the Bowflex resistance bars. And today I slapped myself upside the head while putting on my Bose earphones and climbing a hill at the same time on my treadmill.
— Anonymous, Auburn, Calif.
In 2006, returning to the gym after a spinal fusion, I broke my wrist on the elliptical machine! Bear in mind, I have been a 5 day a week gym goer for more than ten years, and before surgery the elliptical was my choice of cardio machine everyday! This time I obviously was not focused on what I was doing; I had a grip on the stationary handles and looked behind me at some distraction at which time my fingers sort of flared up and the handle caught them bending them backwards and in a sort of twisting motion, I instantly felt a crack and pretty intense pain and knew immediately that I had broken my wrist! I was gripping tightly with my thumb apparently and if I had released my grip I don't think the damage would have been so bad! I didn't even tell anyone till the next day and the manager was incredulous that it could happen; in fact, he got in touch with the manufacturer and they hadn't heard of it before! Or maybe they didn't want to admit it! It taught me one thing though, be aware of what you're doing and those elliptical handles are not as innocent looking as they appear — they pack some force behind them!
— Anonymous, Sulphur, La.
I was using resistance bands strapped to a pole in the gym. Somehow one of the bands came loose, snapped back, and twirled around my neck until it wound all the way up leaving me in disbelief and shame. There were two very attractive women standing near who tried not to laugh but eventually burst into laughter. Needles to say, now I work out at home.
— Jay, Auburn, Ala.
I have a herniated disk from a treadmill. After having a heart attack at 49, my cardiologist recommended continuous cardio in a gym or outside or any type of steady workout. I progressed from a physical therapy routine (gym) back to my regular gym. 5 miles a day every other day plus 40 minutes of weight machines. The treadmill machine has handles that you have to hold to monitor your heart beat while exercising. If you let go the machine tells you to put your hands back on the handles. The monitoring handles are very low and after finishing the workout that day my lower back felt numb, continuing down into my right leg. After a week I went to my regular doctor. She thought it was a sciatic nerve, but it continued and I went to a neurologist who eventually found a herniated disk. I am now in the pool every other day for an hour to relieve the tension on my back and continue my cardio for the heart condition. I do realize that the treadmill most likely was not solely responsible for my disk problem, just a very large contributing factor. It is also very ironic that upon becoming in the best physical condition of my life I go and wreck my back trying to fix my heart. And where did I have my heart attack? In the same gym that I now swim at.
— Dave Rounds, Temecula, Calif.
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